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PFM Awards 2014: Behind Cofely's big win with NELC

Author : David Strydom

25 November 2014

On a night full of highlights, Cofely won the overall award for the second successive year, beating out some outstanding competitors. Here's a closer look at Cofely's partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council

After winning last year’s Overall Award for its partnership with Peel Media Group, Cofely was back in the winner’s enclosure this year for its partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC), which was established in 2010.

Cofely originally won the award for the category Partners in FM – Public Sector. The NELC partnership involves the outsourcing of several facilities, technical frontline services and key back-office business processes to a team of 278 Cofely employees. It’s an ambitious, innovative model to deliver services which extend beyond the boundaries of traditional FM and outsourcing contracts in the industry.

The judges said they had found a new, progressive approach to the scope of strategic FM partnerships that has attracted interest from France and Nordic countries. “Cofely has embedded itself with the Council and they work extremely well together. The sheer complexity and scale of what is required in this partnership together with the Council’s demanding objectives, demonstrates the strengths Cofely has to support it.”

Its purpose, Cofely pointed out in its entry, is to deliver high quality integrated services, by working with partners and the wider community, to improve lives of residents, generate jobs and deliver sustainable economic growth, underpinning key Council aims and priorities.

Prior to this partnership the Council operated an ‘Approved List’ approach to procurement and service delivery entailing inefficient, labour intensive and time consuming processes which, when examined, failed to provide the levels of service or compliance they were designed to achieve.

Achievements to date include delivered savings to the Council of £3.6m while exceeding all super-KPI targets; £154m of inward investment in economic growth and regeneration secured; 1,700 jobs created to date, exceeding the target of 600; 88% of FM repairs completed within agreed timescales against a target of 80%; road traffic accident fatalities and serious injuries reduced by 37%; and children killed and seriously injured in road traffic accidents reduced by 50%.

“It’s an ambitious, innovative model to deliver services which extend beyond the boundaries of traditional FM & outsourcing contracts within the industry. Its purpose is to deliver high quality integrated services, by working with partners and the wider community, to improve lives of residents, generate jobs and deliver sustainable economic growth, underpinning key Council aims and priorities.”

Prior to this partnership the Council operated an ‘approved list’ approach to procurement and
service delivery which entailed inefficient, labour intensive and time-consuming processes which, when examined, failed to provide the levels of service or compliance they were designed to achieve.

Cofely says the partnership with NELC operates through four service streams architectural design, strategic asset management, including traditional hard and soft FM, highways and transportation (including parking enforcement), and regeneration and development (including economic development, planning and building control and home improvement service).

When the partnership was established it set several ambitious objectives including securing £0.5bn of investment in sustainable economic growth and regeneration; securing 4,000 jobs for the local area; creating 60,000sqm of new office, commercial, retail and industrial space; and achieving a 33% cut in the number of people killed and seriously injured in road traffic accidents.

Other objectives included delivering multi-million savings to the council over the term of the partnership, including more efficient management of NELC’s portfolio.

With respect to open, transparent and innovative working practices, Cofely says The Regeneration Partnership has achieved success through its open, transparent approach which has been championed since its inception when a defined governance structure was agreed and established.

The Partnership Management team works at a strategic level with the Council’s members and directors to deliver activities which will meet key objectives and develop new ideas and innovative approaches to service provision, all while delivering more for less.

To work effectively and efficiently to meet the objectives, the Partnership Management Team has several agreed working practices which govern the way the partnership works as one team. This is formally recognised through a Partnership Board which meets on a bi-monthly basis, to ensure the integration and alignment of partnership outcomes with the council’s ambitions.

The board gives strategic direction as well as measuring the performance of the partnership against key indicators and provides a culture where positive challenge and innovation can thrive. The partnership is also managed through the operations board which meets monthly with two key objectives – to translate the strategic direction set by the partnership board into tangible day-to-day delivery of essential services, and to measure performance to ensure the partnership is achieving significant positive outcomes for residents, engaging with them to ensure officers can meet their needs.

The partnership is continually developing and transforming. In 2013 the strategic asset
management team and architects were brought together to form a combined property services department which has simplified the offering which now provides a holistic property service from basic support right through to maintaining and managing estates and implementing strategy.

The team provides full FM of council-owned assets, regeneration, development and property related advice, delivering projects that regenerate the council’s property estate, maximising its current assets and ensuring they’re fully modernised and fit for purpose.

An example of a key strategic project which Cofely has worked with the council to deliver is the property rationalisation programme which has seen a remodelled, smaller and more efficient operational estate.

This has included reduction in the number of core office buildings from over 20 to two main hubs – reducing office accommodation by 60% and running costs by over £1.1m per annum; improving the retained office environment and providing flexible and agile working; and improved productivity and cultural change in the way we work with a reduction in the ratio of workstations to fulltime employees from 1:1 to 0.7.

Other strategic asset and FM achievements in 2013 include the property rationalisation refurbishment of Municipal Offices & William Molson Centre, both of which were completed on time and within budget; achieving 100% on delivery of all priority A calls and 95% for all priority B to F call, exceeding the target of 90%; 94% customer satisfaction rate based on 865 random samples; and getting occupancy levels in business centres and markets up at 98% and 93% by the end of financial year.

Its multi-disciplinary approach to working has proven to be a great success, says Cofely. The service provider’s victory at the PFM Awards seems to bear that out.

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